How to Braise Meat
Braising is a cost effective form of moist-heat cooking that breaks down connective tissues in tough cuts of meat. When you braise a cut of meat it leaves them tender and succulent.
Here are some suggestions and techniques for getting the best out of your meat.
- First, choose your cut of meat. The best cuts of meat for braising are heavily exercised cuts, such as those from the shoulder, leg or rump of the animal, as well as ones that contain a lot of connective tissue, like the chuck, shank, brisket and oxtail.
- Preheat your oven to 150°C.
- Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof braising pan over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the meat. Brown the meat for a minute or two on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.
- Lower the heat to medium, now here is were you would add any of your aromatics, vegetables etc..
- Deglaze the pan with a flavourful liquid, such as stock, broth or wine. Bring the liquid to a simmer. This liquid will add flavour to the braise.
- Return the meat to the pot along with some sort of acidic ingredient like diced tomatoes. The acid helps break down the tough connective tissues in the meat. If you used wine in the previous step, that will work.
- Check the level of the braising liquid. The liquid should just barely cover the meat. You can now add other extra flavourings and seasonings.
- Bring the braising liquid back to a simmer, then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and transfer it to the 150°C oven.
- Braise for 1 to 5 hours, depending on the size of the meat. Figure about an hour per 1kg.
- Remove the pan from the oven.
- To make a sauce or gravy from the braising liquid, first make a roux, then whisk some of the braising liquid (strain it first) into the roux until it thickens. Cook on low heat for a few minutes, then season. Here’s more about how to make gravy.
Oven braising is best because the meat is cooked with indirect heat. But if you don’t have an oven-safe pot, you can braise on the stovetop over low heat. You’ll have to check it periodically to make sure the liquid is simmering, not boiling.
To cool and store braised meat, it’s best to leave the meat in the braising liquid so that it doesn’t dry out.